I don't often talk about special events, but this one is a little different. The wine event at Rio Secco Country Club on Thursday evening, April 26, was pretty nice. In fact, I got to learn quite a bit about wines from one of my old standby producers, Rodney Strong.
It was promoted as a wine and networking event, and it lived up to the publicity. While I didn’t take the time to count how many people were there, I would guess about a 100 or so. Give or take.
Of course, my primary focus was less on the networking and more on the “wine” part of the evening! There were two pourers, Nick Litersky, DM of On Premise Wine at Southern Wine and Spirits, and Mitch Preston, Mountain States Sales Manager for Rodney Strong. There were nine wines from the Rodney Strong portfolio that were poured, and I’d like to share some of my tasting observations (such as they are) with you. Remember, I’m not an actual wine professional, and I don’t even play one on TV! With that being said, I am always on a quest for good “house wines,” that is, those wines that I can pop and pour at a moment’s notice, whether it’s for company who’s just stopping by or for myself! Just like about every other wineau, I have those wines that require great pomp and circumstance when opening, but those are the exceptions. I call those my “I paid *what* for that wine?!??” wines.
Unfortunately, the vintage years weren’t printed on the information sheet about the wines, so I’m going to presume that all of these are the current releases. I don’t remember what the years were. Sorry! But I took lots of notes.
Nick poured the whites and the Pinot Noir. They were as follows:
Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Woo hoo! What a nice wine! And the price (I found it for $13.99 at Costco!), can’t be beat. The cream, butter, and lemon were there, but so were bright citrus, pineapple, and a hint of tropical taste. Amazing mouthfeel, with tongue-coating creamy qualities that washed fruit all the way to the back palate. With the minerality and great acidity, I was trying to figure out a great chicken or cheese dish I could pair with it!
Over on the red wines side of the clubhouse, Mitch was pouring:
Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis, currant, berries, earthy, and maybe a bit of eucalyptus on the nose. With those descriptions, it still could not be called fruit forward or herbally – those characteristics are well integrated into a structured whole. I revisited this wine a couple of times to get my brain around the palate. Lush mouthfeel, firm tannins, and nicely lingering finish. More complexity than the other two Cabs, which makes this a “sit down and think” wine, rather than a quaffing wine.
Symmetry. This is Rodney Strong’s flagship wine, and at about $50.00, it’s a definite contender. Mitch said that it’s their
My favorites were the Chalk Hill Chard, the Merlot, the Sonoma Cab, and the Symmetry. My wine of the evening was the Symmetry. Of course. Unfortunately, I have an Opus One palate paired with a White Zin wallet. Sheesh.
If you were at Rio Secco and would like to share your observations, tasting notes, or opinions, just drop me a line!
By the way, Rio Secco did a great job of ensuring that the appetizers were replenished and that dirty dishes and napkins were cleared away. The staff was unobtrusive and very courteous.